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Difference between urgent and non-urgent repairs

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 distinguishes between urgent and non-urgent repairs. View the full list of Urgent repairs in rental properties below.

It is the landlord or owner's responsibility to ensure a rented property is maintained in good repair. 

References in this section to landlords also apply to owners and agents, if one has been engaged to manage the property.

If a tenant or resident requests urgent repairs, the landlord must respond immediately. All repairs are the landlord’s responsibility, but if the tenant or resident caused the damage, the landlord can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs.

Set procedures must be followed when dealing with urgent or non-urgent repairs. Tenants and residents must continue paying rent even when they are waiting for repairs to be done.

It is important for the landlord and tenant to communicate all information about repairs in writing, and to keep copies for future reference.

For information on repairs relating to sites under a site agreement, view our Repairs under a site agreement page.

Urgent repairs in rental properties

Urgent repairs are:

  • burst water service
  • blocked or broken toilet system
  • serious roof leak
  • gas leak
  • dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by a landlord or agent for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering
  • failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
  • any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
  • an appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
  • a serious fault in a lift or staircase.

For non-urgent repairs, view our Non-urgent repairs page.

How to request urgent repairs

Contact your landlord to arrange urgent repairs. It is a good idea to confirm any contact in writing.

If you request urgent repairs, the landlord must respond immediately. 

If the landlord does not respond

If you do not get a prompt response, you can authorise the urgent repairs to be carried out up to the value of $1,800.

Keep all receipts and a record of your attempts to contact the landlord. 

You can then give the landlord a notice asking them to pay you back for the cost of the urgent repairs. They have 14 days to pay from the date they receive the notice. We recommend using the following forms:

If you cannot afford to pay for the repairs yourself, or you have taken reasonable steps to advise your landlord of the repairs and they have failed to respond immediately, contact us on on 1300 55 81 81 for information and advice.

Confirming an urgent repair request via our RentRight app

After contacting your landlord, you can confirm an urgent repair request through the ‘Email Property Manager’ section of our free RentRight app. You must seek authorisation from the property manager or owner in order to communicate via electronic communications, including the service of notices generated by the app. The RentRight app is available to download from the App store or Google Play store. For more information, view our RentRight page.

Apply to VCAT for a repair order

If the landlord does not complete the urgent repairs and they are going to cost more than $1800, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a repair order. 

Visit the Application by a tenant or landlord page on the VCAT website or call 03 9628 9800 or 1800 133 055 (toll free; country callers only).

VCAT will hear an application within two business days and can order your landlord to arrange the repairs or reimburse you for the cost of the repairs.

While you are waiting for repairs or reimbursement, you can apply for the rent or hiring charges (if you are living in a caravan on a rented site) to be paid into VCAT’s Rent Special Account until the issue is sorted out. 

Last updated: 13/01/2017

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